How a former Mongrel Mob leader is now trying to empower men

Long Lunch 20/04/2018
Photo: File.

A former Mongrel Mob chapter president has ditched his former ways and is now urging former members to follow suit.

Toko Kopu, 57, is now championing the Destiny Church program for men called ManUp, which Kopu attributes to helping clean up his act.   

Kopu’s path towards joining one of New Zealand’s most feared gangs began as many do for young boys – a violent and rocky upbringing.

His abusive father drove Kopu’s brother out of the house, and Kopu soon followed.

Without a home or any stability, 15-year-old Kopu turned to the Mogrel Mob for support along with his brother.

“In the end it just came down to being wanted,” he told Wendyl Nissen.

After years of gang membership, Kopu eventually founded his own chapter. His gang became heavily involved in methamphetamine, where every member was eventually selling.

 A bank robbery and violence against a cop then sent Kopu to prison, and eventually deported to Australia

In the end, it just came down to being wanted.

But after returning to New Zealand, his wife eventually gave him an ultimatum – to choose either the Mongrels or her.

He chose his wife.

The Destiny Church’s ManUp Program was soon suggested to Kopu by a former Mongrel member.

ManUp, which offers a 12-week program, aims to empower men to overcome struggles that they may face in life, including family violence, depression, and more.

“I’ve never looked back,” he told RadioLIVE.

Kopu’s brother has since passed away from suspected synthetic cannabis, which is still being investigated.

Kopu has since returned to recruit other Mongrel Mob member to join ManUp, which has been successful for several now ex-members.

“They all are just wanting change,” he said. “And we seem to have the formula for helping them…”

Listen to the full interview with Toko Kopu above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.